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tv   NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt  NBC  August 11, 2016 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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breaking news tonight from rio. golden girl. simone biles wins the all-around gold medal for the usa and aly raisman takes silver. a dazzling display as america's katie ledecky blows the competition out of the water. and tonight it's phelps versus lochte. one of the greatest rivalries of all time. deadly explosion. a major rescue operation after fire rages through an apartment building. dramatic escapes and a frantic search for the missing. roller coaster horror. a child plunges off a ride in pennsylvania days after shocking accidents at a water slide and a ferris
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wheel at other parks across the country. and dangerous debris. an alarming rise in crashes caused by highway cargo breaking free. drivers dodging missiles on the road. "nightly news" begins right now. this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. reporting tonight from the olympic summer games in rio. good evening. here at olympic park, it is gold and silver for team usa tonight in women's gymnastics. most coveted title, the all-around. 19-year-old olympic rookie simone biles seemingly unaffected by the pressure of high expectations just delivered a jaw-dropping performance here to take the gold medal. with fellow american aly raisman taking the silver. we caught up with simone biles just a short time ago. >> i'm feeling like a whirlwind of emotions, excited, happy, proud, of both me and aly because we both went out there tonight and we both did our jobs. so i couldn't ask for anything more. >> simone biles fresh off her win here this
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evening. nbc's miguel almaguer has more on an exciting day and an exciting night to come here. >> reporter: simone biles left little doubt from the beginning. >> i don't think there's anybody else that can do this vault like simone just did. >> reporter: the 4'9" gymnast standing tall, leaping to new heights. on the floor, the vault, the beam and the bars. tonight crowned the all-around olympic champ. for the americans, gold and silver. aly raisman springing to the podium, too. biles moments ago. >> we just kept telling each other to have fun, it's only one more routine. and i think that's what we did. >> reporter: in guanabara bay, belgian evi van acker, a sailing front-runner, has fallen behind after falling ill. her coach says she got an infection while training in the polluted waters last month. olympic officials insist the water is safe. in the time trial
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kristin armstrong took home gold and won the hearts of millions with this special mother and son embrace. >> when you become a mom, there's no reason to give up your goals and your passions and your dreams. >> reporter: in the pool, the americans needed wonder woman to come to the rescue after falling behind in the 4x200 relay. >> australia, i believe, has the lead right now. >> reporter: the australians had a nearly one-second advantage, a lifetime in the pool before katie ledecky could rocket into the water. >> and you can see it already as she's just swimming right there with her. >> reporter: surging through the pool, ledecky needed only 50 meters to catch the aussie. >> and ledecky has the lead with a hundred meters left. >> every person in this pool is scared to race katie ledecky. >> reporter: with each stroke ledecky builds on her lead pulling away in a sprint that wasn't close in the end. >> ten meters left for katie ledecky of the united states. >> reporter: ledecky cruised to the wall nearly two seconds ahead.
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>> the u.s. women win gold in the 4x200. >> she won the gold medal. that's a part of history. we're all just so happy to be a part of it and just soaking it all in. >> reporter: tonight the shine of a champion who in history stands alone. later on tonight over at the aquatic center, michael phelps and ryan lochte will face off in what will likely be their final duel against each other. they have had a great american rivalry. yesterday we told you about the two pools that were green. still green today. >> thank you very much, miguel almaguer. no easy transition as we turn back home now to silver spring, maryland. a suburb outside washington, d.c., where an investigation is under way tonight into the cause of a deadly apartment building explosion. authorities say it was felt as far as a mile away. it caused people to jump to safety. nbc's hans nichols is there where the search for the missing continues. >> reporter: the explosion came just before midnight at these three-story garden apartments in a
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predominantly central american community in silver spring, maryland. as the fire raged for two hours, ladders hoisted to windows, first by neighbors, then firefighters. survivors spoke of dramatic escapes. children and adults leaping from the second story. >> oh, lord. >> county police on scene. advising people trapped on second and third floor. >> reporter: the force of the blast twisting metal, sending windows and bits of balcony across the street, some 70 yards. at least 2 people confirmed dead, 34 including 3 firefighters hospitalized. as many as 100 people displaced and several missing. >> good lord. that looks like a plane flew through it. >> reporter: today the shell of the building still smoldering. maria esperanta heard the explosion, got up to investigate, and when she returned the floor beneath her son collapsed. she hasn't seen him since and asks for help in finding him. the cause of the
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explosion unclear. officials acknowledge they received a call late last month about the smell of gas at the complex but today said any connection is premature. >> we're not prepared to discuss at this time any causes of this incident. >> reporter: this afternoon the rescue operation looking more and more like a recovery. hans nichols, nbc news, silver spring, maryland. for the third time in less than a week in this country a child has been involved in a horrific accident on an amusement park ride. this time a 3-year-old boy suddenly plummeted from a roller coaster at a park outside pittsburgh where he's hospitalized tonight. nbc's blake mccoy has details. >> reporter: just after noon thursday, excitement turned to panic when a child fell from a roller coaster at the idlewild and soak zone theme park in ligonier, pennsylvania. >> is this child on the ground? did you move him? >> reporter: the 3-year-old said to be alert and talking when he was air lifted to children's hospital in pittsburgh. the accident happened on the rollo coaster
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ride. it requires a child to be at least 48 inches tall but only 36 inches if they ride with an adult. how the boy fell out is unclear. >> our rides are inspected daily, and we're not going to go into that right now, but safety is always our number one priority. >> reporter: the accident on the 78-year-old wooden coaster comes just days after three girls were injured on a ferris wheel in tennessee when the car they were riding in turned over. sunday a 10-year-old boy was killed in kansas while riding what's been billed as the world's tallest water slide. doctors caution some rides can be unsafe for children simply because they're young. >> they're impulsive. there are examples of children trying to climb out of moving roller coasters at small amusement parks just because they get frightened. >> reporter: but an industry association points out the chance of injury is about 1 in 16 million, calling it extremely rare. state inspectors are
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on site right now helping to determine what went wrong. as for that 3-year-old, he was conscious when brought here to the hospital and tonight his family is asking for privacy. lester? >> all right, blake mccoy, thank you. a grieving husband is speaking out to nbc news after his 73-year-old wife was shot dead accidentally by a police officer in florida during a training drill gone horribly wrong. there are a lot of questions that remain about how this could have possibly happened. the victim's husband tells us he saw it all with his own eyes. here's nbc's kerry sanders. >> we've been married 55 years. >> reporter: gary knowlton today mourning the loss of his wife, mary. on tuesday just moments after this photograph was taken, he witnessed in horror as his partner of 55 years was shot to death by police officer lee coel. he was role playing as a criminal. >> i was maybe ten
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feet away and watched her get shot. >> reporter: the tragic accident happened during a shoot/don't shoot citizens academy class like this one where the gun would normally be loaded with blanks, marker rounds, but how could real bullets end up in the weapon? experts say a revolver like the one used in the florida tragedy should have been equipped with sizing collars to prevent live ammunition from being loaded. >> if the collars were inserted in the revolver, only the training ammunition marking or blank would be able to fit in that firearm. >> reporter: officer coel on paid administrative leave has faced controversy before. he was investigated for an arrest last year when a man was mauled by his police dog for about two minutes. he wasn't sanctioned but did receive additional screening. coel and his police union did not comment today but tonight mary knowlton's family still forgiving. >> people make big
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mistakes, and they shouldn't have to live with it for the rest of their life. >> reporter: kerry sanders, nbc news, miramar, florida. let's turn to presidential politics now. a new day and a new controversy for donald trump who over the last 24 hours in speech after speech and interview after interview has repeatedly asserted that the president of the united states, barack obama, is, quote, the founder of isis. and trump is not backing off those comments. even when given a chance to explain. nbc's hallie jackson has the latest. >> reporter: his hyperbole hitting new heights. >> isis is honoring president obama. he is the founder of isis. >> reporter: after accusing the president of founding the terror group tonight, true to form, donald trump's not backing down. >> he's the founder of isis. i call president obama and hillary clinton
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the founders of isis. these are the founders of isis. >> reporter: many conservatives argue the obama administration's actions in the middle east created a vacuum of power that let isis flourish. >> you meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace. >> no. i meant he's the founder of isis. i do. he's the most valuable player. i give him the most valuable player award. i give her, too, by the way. >> but he's not sympathetic to them. he hates them. he's trying to kill them. >> he's the founder. >> reporter: the founder of isis is this man, abu musab al zarqawi. the u.s. has conducted more than 11,000 strikes against isis and spent more than $8.5 billion fighting the terror group. >> it's about changing the storyline immediately and relying on stage craft. and that's what donald trump did today. >> reporter: hillary clinton's campaign slamming trump for
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his, quote, unprecedented lack of knowledge. in the midst of what "time" magazine today calls simply a meltdown, trump so far sticking to the strategy that got him this far. >> i just keep doing the same thing i'm doing right now. in the end it's either going to work or i'm going to, you know, i'm going to have a very, very nice long vacation. >> reporter: while trump sees political opportunity linking clinton to the president, there may be political risk in going after him so hard. nbc's newest favorability ratings show the president nearly twice as popular as trump. lester? >> hallie jackson in florida, thank you. a new study out today reveals an alarming trend. more car crashes are being caused by falling debris often with deadly consequences. a 40% increase in the last 15 years. as nbc's gabe gutierrez reports, the study says these harrowing moments you're about to see are preventable.
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>> reporter: it can happen in an instant. highway cargo breaking free turning into missiles. >> there it goes. boom. >> reporter: this mattress on a new jersey highway forcing drivers to swerve. a truck tipping over bursting into flames. >> i feel like it could have been so easily like prevented. >> reporter: holden amore was almost killed in florida when a heavy piece of sheet metal smashed through his windshield. >> i was driving on the interstate when a torpedo essentially went through the windshield and hit me in the face. there's really no reason why i should be here. >> reporter: a new aaa study finds between 2011 and 2014 dangerous debris played a key role in at least 200,000 crashes, causing more than 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths. two-thirds of those wrecks involved objects falling out of a vehicle, most in the middle of the day on freeways. joe starks, a road ranger for the florida department of transportation, says he's seen it all. >> the weirdest thing i found was barbecue grills, couches, brand-new furniture, televisions.
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>> reporter: in 16 states drivers of unsecured loads face potential jail time. >> it could be extremely dangerous. >> reporter: here in louisiana the penalty can be up to six months in prison. >> people need to make sure that their loads are secure by using the proper cargo tie-down straps. they can make sure that those items that they're carrying are properly secured. >> reporter: advice, police say, can prevent a heavy load from carrying a heavy price. gabe gutierrez, nbc news, new orleans. still ahead here tonight, two words. simone biles. fresh off her all-around gold medal win with yet another astounding performance. a look at how she pulls off those gravity-defying moves. also speaking of defying gravity, big trouble for the young man caught scaling the outside of trump tower.
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we're back now from rio with what you might call the science of simone biles. how exactly does she do what she does? she makes it look easy, but for most of us, it's just not humanly possible. here's nbc's stephanie gosk. >> i would describe my style of gymnastics very powerful and i guess you could say fun. >> reporter: fun for everyone except the gymnasts who have to compete against her. gold medalists nastia liukin and tim daggett say simone biles leaves them speechless. >> she is, by far, the best gymnast that i've ever seen. >> reporter: do you run out of superlatives? >> i've said that many times. there aren't enough adjectives. >> reporter: most gymnasts have one specialty. biles has three. vault, beam and floor. >> she's lightning quick. she's strong. she has amazing air sense. she's got the whole thing, and it all
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comes together. >> reporter: the best example is on floor when she does her signature move, the biles. >> she does a roundoff to a back handspring, then flies in the air, she does two flips in a layout position which we call a double layout. right before she's about to land she does a half turn, so then she's forced to have what we call blind landing. >> reporter: behind the perfection is power. >> a power gymnast is somebody that's able to generate tremendous force with their legs. if you're more powerful, you can fly higher, you can do more things and you can make it look even easier. and just up and up. >> reporter: which is exactly what biles does on the vault as well. >> it's jaw dropping when you watch her. i think when we slow it down in slow motion, too, you just see actually how high she goes. >> reporter: no one does harder routines, which means before she takes to the floor, biles already has the potential to score higher than anyone else. >> gymnastics is all about doing the hardest stuff possible and making it look easy, and that's what she does. >> reporter: she does
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that. >> yeah, she does that. she makes it look so easy. >> reporter: that's why no one can touch her. stephanie gosk, nbc news, rio. >> absolutely fascinating. we're back in a moment with how and when you can catch a spectacular show in the sky tonight.
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the young man whose stunt caused high anxiety at trump tower now faces big trouble with the law. 19-year-old steven regatta has been charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespass. he kept millions glued to their screens for nearly three hours as he climbed with suction cups before police hauled him in on the 21st floor. tonight macy's says it plans to close about 100 stores next year, about 14% of its stores, as the nation's largest department store chain says it's trying to be more nimble in an ultracompetitive market. keep your eyes on the sky for something amazing tonight when the annual perseid meteor shower hits its
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peak. experts say as many as 200 meteors, double the usual rate which hasn't happened since 2009. western states will have the best view, but the action doesn't start until the overnight hours. when we come back, how the u.s. women's gymnastics team is inspiring a new generation to follow in their footsteps. reinforcements.
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===janelle/vo=== the extra protection they say they need to make sure officers get home safely at the end of the day. ===raj/vo===
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and, drone on. who's charting a path to get drone racing into the olympics. ===raj/close=== next at 6. finally tonight, they have given us some of the more memorable moments here in rio including another dominating performance this evening. the u.s. women's gymnastics team certainly earning their place in history here. and now the future generation is looking up to these olympians who, as rehema ellis tells us, are inspiring america. >> reporter: as simone biles powered her team to a golden moment, fans in her hometown of spring, texas, and nationwide roared with pride. >> who knows how many little girls are thinking they want to be like aly or maybe gabby or madison or simone? >> reporter: true enough, a group of budding gymnasts at chelsea piers fieldhouse in new york watched in adoration --
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>> usa! >> reporter: -- and dreams of their own. like 10-year-old analyse. only 2 when she started tumbling in a sport that traditionally didn't look much like her but now is more diverse than ever. do you think you could end up in the olympics? >> i want to. i was inspired by them. and they were like really good. that makes me want to be like them. >> reporter: she's following role models like dominique dawes. >> it does not get much better than that. >> reporter: the first african-american female gymnast to take home a gold medal in 1996. in the 2012 london games, gabby douglas made stunning olympic history. >> and it's a gabby gold. >> reporter: winning the individual all-around championship. and now simone biles. soaring to new heights and changing the game. 18-year-old maya reimers couldn't be more pleased. a junior olympic qualifier she's college bound on a
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gymnastics scholarship and grateful to simone and others who helped the sport cross color lines. >> you shouldn't feel like you're not able to join a sport because of your skin color. it's a sport for everyone. so if she's able to inspire, then that's amazing. >> reporter: the changing face of the world's best gymnasts inspiring a new generation of young american girls. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. we look forward to seeing some of them on the podium someday. that's going to do it for us on a thursday night. i'm lester holt. a reminder, nbc primetime olympic coverage starts at 8:00, 7:00 central with another big night in swimming and gymnastics. for all of us at nbc news, thank you for watching and good night from rio.
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right now at 6:00, teammates and friends turn into rivals. four high profile olympians taking to the mat and to the pool. the news starts now. thanks for joining us on this thursday evening. >> we will be seeing two big matchups in prime time tonight. a live look now at the olympic cauldron. team usa dominating the overall medal count. now it gets personal. super star teammates going for gold. >> team coverage begins with jessica aguirre in rio.
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the swimming venue is behind you. the big race about to begin. >> reporter: yes. this is going to be an epic night like you said. i call it a friendly faceoff. in the pool it's phelps against lochte in their final battle, battling it out in the pool. then in gymnastics, only one woman can walk away with the individual gold medal for all around. both biles and raisman, they both want it. it's a rivalry of olympic proportion. now longtime teammates and roommates will have one final swimming showdown. for the fourth time in their careers, they will face off in the 200 meter individual medley. >> i don't know about the bromance part. we have been racing since 2004. we created a good friendship and everything from that. ep

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